Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic

Friday, September 25, 2020
10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET

Voting options that minimize personal contact, reduce crowds, and limit common access to high-touch surfaces, such as voting machines, will be critical to holding safe elections in 2020. How prepared are states to support these safety measures?

In this video conversation, Jennifer Kavanagh and Quentin Hodgson will discuss the unique voting challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will share findings from their research to understand how new voting policies might affect public health and safety, as well as election integrity, access, and logistics.

This research is part of RAND’s Countering Truth Decay initiative, which is focused on restoring the role of facts, data, and analysis in U.S. political and civil discourse and the policymaking process.


RAND 20/20

A series of remote conversations with our researchers, each featuring a 20-minute presentation and 20 minutes of questions and answers.

Tracking the Effects of COVID-19 on American Lives and Livelihoods

As governments, communities, businesses, and the public continue to grapple with how to limit the spread of the new coronavirus and to mitigate the economic, social, and emotional impacts of policies aimed at doing so, they need objective, up-to-date, publicly available information on how Americans are being affected across a wide variety of areas.

During the past five months, RAND researchers have conducted a series of surveys using the American Life Panel (ALP), a nationally representative internet panel, to examine the effects of COVID-19 on Americans’ lives and livelihoods and help inform effective policies and interventions.

In this remote conversation on September 17, 2020, Shanthi Nataraj shared key RAND research findings. She discussed how the pandemic is affecting Americans’ physical and mental health, their daily lives, and their employment and financial well-being.

Back to School: Teaching and Learning During a Pandemic

Educators and students in schools across the United States have faced unprecedented changes to teaching and learning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As children return to school this fall, what will instruction look like? What kinds of disparities are we likely to see in students’ learning opportunities as a result of school closures, and what will schools and families need to promote equity as the 2020–2021 school year begins?

In this remote video conversation on August 20, 2020, Laura Hamilton discussed how teachers, school leaders, and parents are navigating the challenges of educating during a pandemic. She shared key RAND research findings, including insights gained by surveying teachers and principals across the country through RAND’s American Educator Panels (AEP). She also discussed the resources and policy changes that could help mitigate the challenges educators and students are facing.

Governing by Artificial Intelligence: Promises and Pitfalls

Public institutions across the world are interested in the prospect of leveraging algorithms and powerful artificial intelligence tools for decisionmaking purposes. On July 30, 2020, Osonde Osoba discussed the use of AI systems in governance processes—from facial recognition technologies in state surveillance applications to risk-predictive tools applied in the criminal justice system. He talked about ways to achieve the benefits of these algorithmic tools while avoiding any pitfalls.

COVID-19 Briefing Series

RAND researchers and leaders in conversation with Brandon Baker, vice president of development

Examining the Post-COVID-19 Workforce

COVID-19 has led to rapidly changing working patterns. Remote working, flexible working, social distancing at work, shift work, and the need to combine caring responsibilities with work may all have impacts on productivity and employee well-being. In this June 19, 2020 video conversation, Christian van Stolk discussed the consequences of COVID-19 from a workforce point of view. He talked about ways RAND research can help policymakers and employers rethink and retool the workplace to support employee health and well-being and maintain productivity in the workforce.

Catalyzing Solutions for a Changed World

The Pardee RAND Graduate School is a vital platform for catalyzing new solutions for a fundamentally changed world. On June 11, 2020, Susan Marquis discussed how the graduate school quickly pivoted, initiating a series of projects and partnerships to help communities directly respond to the COVID-19 crisis. She talked about ways Pardee RAND students and leaders are leveraging the school’s new capabilities, including the Tech and Narrative Lab, community partnerships, and policy design studios, to help decisionmakers confront the pandemic head on.

Evidence for Pandemic Recovery Action

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a need for real-time, objective analysis that decisionmakers can use to take action and roll out recovery plans. On June 5, 2020, Peter Hussey and Courtney Gidengil discussed how RAND can help rethink and retool our emergency management systems by assessing rapidly emerging information, synthesizing a range of solutions, and disseminating actionable evidence for immediate response. They talked about ways RAND research can be used to support decisionmaking through the phases of a crisis, from emergency response to recovery and long-term plans to mitigate lasting effects.

Communities, Equity, and COVID-19

While we all have been affected in some way by the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic has exposed fissures in our communities, including significant social and systemic inequities. On May 28, 2020, Anita Chandra discussed RAND’s efforts to understand COVID-19’s toll on particularly vulnerable populations. She talked about the short- and long-term impacts of today’s policy choices on economic and health equity, as well as ways RAND research can help decisionmakers strengthen communities for a post-COVID-19 future.

A Crisis of Disinformation

The COVID-19 crisis has created an urgent need to help counter a surge in misinformation and attempts to exploit the pandemic through disinformation. On May 22, 2020, Jennifer Kavanagh and Todd Helmus discussed the pandemic’s effect on public trust in important sources of information and institutions that provide information. They described how RAND is working to not only combat disinformation and misinformation during the COVID-19 crisis, but also to counter Truth Decay—the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public life.